Mass Communication System Update: You Can Now Subscribe to Text Messages

As a follow-up to our August 10 Compass post introducing BrightArrow as the division’s new mass communication system, the BrightArrow project team would like to provide you with an update and let you know how this transition will affect you.

As a reminder, Albemarle County Public Schools uses an Electronic School Notification System (ESNS) to share important information with our school community through voice, email and text messaging. For the last several years, we have partnered with a company called Blackboard to provide this service. Following a review of our communication needs and a thorough evaluation of available communication tools, we decided to move forward with a new company called BrightArrow. As of today, Friday, October 15, all schools and departments will be sending messages using our new BrightArrow mass communication system. We communicated with families about this change on October 1.

The process for employees to subscribe to notifications will not change. If you are already subscribed to receive voice and/or email messages from ACPS, your preferences will remain in place. If you wish to enroll, to update your contact information, or to unenroll, please visit the Employee tab of our Electronic School Notification System web page and use the web-based update tool to add or edit your desired contact information.

All email addresses are automatically enrolled in the ESNS system. Employees can choose to add a personal email address and up to two phone numbers. Also, NEW with BrightArrow, employees can now register to receive text messages!

ESNS screenshot
Screenshot of ESNS web-based update tool

If you would like to receive text messages from ACPS, you must do two things:

  1. You must use our ESNS web-based update tool to provide a mobile phone number and select “Yes” in the box that asks, “Receive Text Messages?”
  2. You need to opt in. When you receive your first text message from ACPS, you will also receive an invitation to opt in to future messages. Simply reply “Yes” to that invitation. (If you do not respond to that invitation, the system will not send you future text messages.) You can also opt in to text messaging at any time by sending the word “Yes” to the short code 87569. Once you opt in, BrightArrow will send you a confirmation that your phone number is subscribed.

Note: School-based employees who register for text messages will receive text messages sent from their school as well as text messages sent from the division. Department-based employees will only receive text messages sent from the division. All text messages will come from the short code 87569. (Not all messages shared by schools or the division will be sent via text.)

If you have difficulty accessing the update tool or need assistance, please contact the Service Desk at 434-975-9444 or email

Among its many features, BrightArrow offers a suite of communication tools for teachers, including email and a secure two-way communication option called BrightChat. ACPS plans to introduce these features gradually later this year. Please stay tuned to the Compass for future updates!